Sea grasses offer affordable beach protection services

Conservationists hope the research inspires governments to do more to protect sea grass beds and related habitats. Jan. 2 (UPI) -- New research suggests sea grasses can protect beaches at a discount. Beaches are beautiful. They're also a valuable commodity for many places, including the Caribbean, where island economies rely on tourist dollars. It makes sense to spend money to ensure the beaches don't go anywhere.

Erosion ensures no grain of sand is safe, but new research suggests sea grasses offer cost-effective beach protection services.

"A foreshore with both healthy seagrass beds as well as calcifying algae, is a resilient and sustainable option in coastal defense", Rebecca James, a doctoral candidate at the University of Groningen and the Royal Dutch Institute for Sea Research in the Netherlands, said in a news release. "Because of erosion, the economic value of Caribbean beaches literally drains into the sea."

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